naval affairs

NAC News – Edition 501

NAC News – Edition 501

Mat1 Nadia Lamontagne, from NCSM Champlain, receives a Naval Reserve Centennial coin from Commodore Patrick. J. Montgomery, Commander of the Naval Reserve.

Your weekly national and international naval news for the week of February 17th, 2023

Edition: 501   Quote: “The Policy of the Submarine Mine favoured us, but our authorities couldn’t see it.  I printed in three kinds of type: (1) Huge capitals; (2) Italics: (3) big Roman block letters the following words.  Submitted to the authorities very early in the war – “Sow the North Sea with Mines on such a huge scale that Naval Operations in it become utterly impossible.”  Memories, by Admiral of the Fleet, Lord Fisher, Fisher, John Arbuthnot Fisher, Baron, 1841-1920, page 131, Dictated September 1919.

Rod Hughes

Editor NAC News  (Comments welcome to help improve this service.)

Links to keep in touch with the NAC and RCN can be found at the bottom of this email.  Contact Kevin Goheen if you wish someone to be added to the NAC News email distribution. (Influencer or good candidates to become a NAC member, and note the first year’s NAC & Branch membership dues are waived)


RCN: Canada’s Naval Reserve celebrates centennial in 2023  You can find information on activities planned in all the NRDs on the UNTDA website along with the programme and on-line registration for a major conference and celebration organized by the UNTD in Victoria 9-12 May 2023Cross Canada listing of Events taking place during the Centennial of the Canadian Naval Reserve in 2023

The Vice-Admiral (Ret’d) Peter Cairns Award was created to recognize and honour Canadian innovators and trailblazers in the shipbuilding industry who have made inspiring contributions to Canada, the Canadian Marine sector and the Canadian shipbuilding industry.  Submissions need be completed and submitted to Maritime Affairs Navy League of Canada no later than February 23rd, 2023.  Attention to Committee Chair Mme Louise Mercier.

UPDATED  28 February 2023  ShipTech Forum 2023 8:00 – 18:00 (Ottawa time) The ShipTech Forum is a hybrid conference with virtual access too.  Keynote Speakers: RAdm Bruce Baffer, USCG (Ret’d) Sr VP, Global Government Services, American Bureau of Shipping; Cmdre Jason Armstrong, MSM, CD, Director General Naval Force Development; and, RAdm Brian Santarpia, CD Commander Maritime Forces Atlantic/Joint Task Force Atlantic.  To register visit  All serving Naval & Public sector Personnel can register for Free!  Discount for NAC members who wish to purchase a ticket, we will supply you with a discount code ($50 savings from regular rate).  Discount of $175 for NAC members who wish to purchase a booth.  One complimentary ticket for a NAC representative to attend (value of $425)

It’s Time to Recommission the UNTD Association with a New Name.  At the November 2022 Annual General Meeting, UNTDA members voted unanimously to broaden Association membership to welcome both active and retired Naval Reservists of all ranks into full membership.    The search for that new name is open to all current members and prospective new members.   Submit your suggestions to until March 1, 2023, when they will be compiled and reviewed to determine a short list or top contender to be presented to the membership at the AGM in Victoria in May.



Canada faces fresh pressure on military spending as NATO chief eyes hard target

What Putin Broke



House of Commons recognizes Naval Reserve Centennial

Walter McGiffen Love: The Legacy of one of our first volunteers

Vice-Admiral Topshee Announces Navy Command and Senior Appointments amendments

More than $6 billion earmarked for F-35 weapons – cost separate from aircraft purchase (Editor – Fighters do need weapons, any joint anti-shipping weapons?)

New apartments coming to CFB Esquimalt as hundreds wait for military housing (Editor – sad situation.  Déjà vu and ironic that the housing shown in the article was ordered built by COMMARPAC without gaining Ottawa’s approval as temporary housing in Work Point during the housing shortage of the early 80’s)

Canadian Coast Guard’s Honorary Captain

CAF Personnel Needed for Leadership Positions at Canadian Military Colleges

Voluntary Occupational for Trained Officers to Transfer to Non-Commissioned Occupations

$46.5 million to monitor local oceans

History Of The Welland Canal: Is It The Most Important Canal In North America?

Lookout: Volume 68, Issue 6, February 13, 2023



USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker: Feb. 13, 2023

U.S., Allies Need to Operate in the High North More to Deter China, Russia, Experts Say and Navy Admirals Detail Russian Arctic Build-Up

Coast Guard Moving Cutter to Pacific as Regional Missions Expand

Denmark Begins Procurement Process To Deliver New Capabilities For Arctic Operations

Discover the US Navy’s MQ-4C Triton unmanned surveillance aircraft (Editor – impressive capabilities showcased in a 5:46 min video)

OSI Maritime Systems wins contract to equip Chilean Scorpene class submarines

Navy eyeing Littoral Combat Ships as ‘mothership’ for unmanned platforms, SecNav tells lawmakers

Marine Corps Requirements Call for 9 Light Amphibious Ships per Regiment

Military Services Competing Over the Same Recruiting Pool of Less Than 500,000

Brazilian President Lula postpones visit of two Iranian ships in Rio

Panama to allow Iran naval vessels to sail through Panama Canal, despite US opposition

US Navy begins seismic mitigation work at first two dry docks

World’s largest shore power system for cruise ships to be installed in Miami



Two Navy ships to deploy to the East Coast (Editor – Cyclone Gabrielle worst storm to hit New Zealand this century, says PM)

Japan to buy about 500 Tomahawk cruise missiles from US

Nimitz Carrier Strike Group and Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group Conduct Combined Exercises

U.S. Pacific Fleet by Admiral Paparo (Editor – useful 6:25 min interview with Commander PACFLT) and Explainer: East and South China Seas and link to US Congress 145 page report)

AUKUS alliance: US and UK to help Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarines

US is preparing Australia to go to war against China, claims former diplomat

Chinese elements shine at joint drills, maritime expo in Pakistan and China boosts military exchange, cooperation with foreign countries with joint drills in Pakistan and they have no ethics as Russia Offers Joint Construction of Amur Class Submarines to India and for an added wrinkle U.S. Donates Equipment to Pakistan Navy School after Participating in Naval Exercise

Rearming the Royal Australian Navy

Chinese Navy Vessel Enters Japan’s Territorial Waters near Kagoshia Prefecture Islands

China Coast Guard points laser on Philippine patrol vessel BRP Malapascua and Holding out against China in a row over reefs

RAN takes delivery of 4th evolved Cape-class patrol ship

Taiwan Denies Drafting Special Budgets For Submarine Follow-Ons And AEGIS Frigates

BIMCO: Chinese Shipyards Achieve Market Share Record in 2022

OOCL Kicks Off New Generation of Ultra-Large Boxships (Editor – 24,188 TEU!)

Korean majors led by Sinokor and HMM forge alliance to develop nuclear-powered ships

China And Australia: How Coal Shipments Resumed After Two Years Of Tension then Australian Coal Cargo Bound for China Diverts Amid Customs Uncertainty

China’s Oil Giants Want More Russian Crude




Ukraine war: Zelensky rules out territory deal with Putin in BBC interview and Lukashenko warns Belarus will join Russia in war if attacked

Ukraine Claims Russian Kalibr Missiles Flew Over Romania

Video: Russian Suicide Drone Boat Strikes Ukrainian Bridge and Moldova’s pro-EU President Sandu accuses Russia of coup plot

Video: Floating Naval Mine Explodes on a Beach in Georgia and Ukraine Warns of Drifting Mines Along Black Sea Coast

DIA Report on Iranian UAVs in Ukraine


Maersk donates containers to serve as temporary housing for earthquake victims

Chinese diplomat points to importance of objective investigation into Nord Streams blasts (Editor – numerous TASS articles on this subject) and Sailors, soldiers need skills to fight propaganda, Navy’s Cleary says )

Three years without one single on-site US nuclear weapons inspection at base for Northern Fleet ballistic missile submarines

UK’s new nuclear deterrent reaches milestone as first steel cut on third Dreadnought submarine (Editor – 1:56 min video included)

Four French FREMMs Receive US Recognition for ASW Skills

Hellenic Navy Gunboats to be Armed with SPIKE NLOS Long-Range Guided Missiles

Was the Angled Flight Deck Missed on HMS Queen Elizabeth? (Editor – 8:24 min video)

Thales and Schiebel Win Royal Navy Peregrine Competition with S-100 and more Peregrine rotary wing UAV to enter service with the Royal Navy

Ireland will ‘never be in a position to engage’ in antisubmarine warfare: Defense Minister

Claims of U.S. Involvement in Nord Stream Attack Draw Scrutiny

Moscow say’s it won’t lower ambitions in Arctic hence Russia continues big dig on Arctic seabed (Editor – environmental assessment for this?)

Russia’s Dark Tanker Fleet Gets Stretched Sailing Thousands of Miles

Cost of Shipping Gasoline Jumps 405% After Russia Sanctions



PLA naval ship Nanning to participate in NAVDEX 2023 in Abu Dhabi, UAE

British Navy announces arrival of autonomous mine hunter in Gulf

IRGC Equips Naval Helicopters with Mines

More than 2 years after port explosion, Lebanon’s navy focuses on rebuilding damaged base

Suez Canal Authority Raises Toll Surcharges for Tankers



Libya shipwreck: At least 73 migrants presumed dead

Sudan’s Leader Agrees to Host Russian Naval Base on Red Sea and Sudan: US warns Khartoum over allowing Russia to build Red Sea naval base (Editor – the port in question is Port Sudan that is situated in the strategic middle of the Red Sea on the western shore.)

Antarctic Seasonal Sea Ice Cover Hits Record Low

Study: Voyage optimization can cut emissions by 7.3 pct

The Ocean Cleanup and the United Nations: partnering with UNDP (Editor – two of the Ocean Cleanup vessels are at Ogden Point, Victoria for the next few weeks)

Russian missile frigate Admiral Gorshkov arrives in Cape Town but Russian warship not welcome in Cape Town, says Mayor Hill-Lewis then Russian frigate leaves Cape Town to join drills with South African, Chinese navies

Spanish Meteoro class OPV Audaz conducts patrol with US Coast Guard in Gulf of Guinea

The unknown giants of the deep oceans (Editor – 11:54 min video)

Secrets Of The Marie Maersk Container Ship | Richard Hammond’s Big

How undersea cables may affect marine life



10 Important Canadian Operations During the Second World War (Editor – 17:56 min video)

Wreck Site Identified as World War II Submarine USS Albacore (SS 218)

USS Maine (1889) – Guide 322 (Editor – ship building lessons in a 7:33 min video)

Ambushing a Fleet Leaving its Own Base

The Mariner’s Mirror – Maritime Disasters: HMS Gloucester (Editor – 33 min podcast)



18 February 1944  Sixteen Canadian minesweepers, in four divisions of four ships, begin to leave St. John’s for British waters to take part in the invasion of Normandy.

19 February 1944  Motor Torpedo boats of the 29th and 65th (Canadian) Flotillas began to be commissioned (continues until 31 March).

21 February 1941 – The freighter SS Canadian Cruiser (Built in 1921 by Halifax Shipyards and owned by Canadian Tramp Shipping Co. Ltd.), was sailing unescorted between various Indian Ocean ports.  She was intercepted by the German pocket battleship KMS Admiral Sheer and sunk by gunfire about 500 nm east of Zanzibar (now Tanzania). There were no casualties.  All 36 crew members were taken prisoner.  One man later escaped from a POW camp to Spain.

22 February 1941 – The freighter SS A.D. Huff (Atlantic Transportation Company, Montreal) was sailing independently from London to St. John’s.  An old 4-inch gun was mounted on the poop deck, with a single DEMS rating to supervise his merchant seamen gunners.  Mid-morning on 22 Feb, Huff had about 520 nm remaining in her transit to John’s, when a small biplane appeared overhead.  The aircraft signalled for the ship to stop.  The Master tried to outrun the threat using his ship’s best speed which was only 8 knots.  By midday, the German battle cruiser KMS Gneisenau was on the horizon.  Almost at once there was the distant thud of heavy guns and two huge shells splashed in the ship’s wake.  The Gneisenau continued periodic shelling of the merchantman with her 11-inch guns. The Master ordered his puny 4-inch gun fired at the oncoming vessel, but the DEMS gunner probably wisely refused. Then hits began to be more direct, with a hit on the large anchor windlass on the forecastle.  The Gneisenau started using her secondary 5.9-inch guns.  The most damaging being two hits to the engine room.  The Master then ordered the crew to abandon ship.  The ship’s Radio Officer tried to transmit the raider warning signal R-R-R-R, but Gneisenau’s operators jammed the signal.  As the lifeboats cleared away from the ship, Gneisenau approached to within 100 yards and hastened the Huff’s demise with gunfire until she sank.  Two engine room personnel were killed and 40 crew members including the DEMS gunner were taken prisoner.

22 February 1943 – Operation Torch – RCN Flower Class corvette HMCS Weyburn strikes a mine laid by U-118 off the Strait of Gibraltar; the explosion kills one seaman of her crew of 77; before the ship sinks, all but two depth charges are rendered safe by throwing the detonators over the side; British destroyer HMS Wivern starts to remove the wounded and survivors when twenty minutes later an after bulkhead gives way and the corvette begins to sink; the two depth charges explode, killing 8 more sailors and wounding others in the water; Wivern’s engines and boilers are hit, leaving the ship dead in the water; 84 RCN and RN sailors are wounded in total.

22 February 1945  HMCS Trentonian is torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine U1004 near Falmouth England; six of her ship’s company were lost.

23 February 1942 – Two Canadian merchant ships steaming independently (without escorts) were sunk by U-129 on the very same day.  The first ship was sunk at 0120 in the early morning of 23 February and the second was sunk later in the afternoon at 1504.  Each ship had been stalked for hours by U-129 before they were each sunk.  Both ships were ore carriers with cargoes of high value bauxite, and they were steaming from Paramaribo, Dutch Surinam (aka Guiana) to Port of Spain, Trinidad.  Their wartime cargoes of bauxite would be shipped from Trinidad to various North American locations to be used in aluminum production for various weapons systems.  The ore carrier SS George L. Torian (Upper Lakes & St Lawrence Transportation Co. Ltd. Toronto) was sunk at 0120 when she was about 120 nm SE from Trinidad.  The U-129 fired a torpedo into the ship’s bow and twenty-eight seconds later, she quickly sank.  13 crew members (including the Master) and two passengers were killed.  Four crew members were rescued by a US Navy flying boat.  The ore carrier SS Lennox (Canada Steamships Lines Ltd, Montreal) was sunk at 1504 when she was about 160 nm from Trinidad. Two crew members were killed.  The Master and 17 crew members were rescued by a merchant ship and landed at Port of Spain.

23 February 1945 – The freighter SS Point Pleasant Park (Furness Withy, Canada Ltd, Montreal) was sailing independently from Saint John, New Brunswick, via Trinidad across the South Atlantic to Cape Town. The cargo consisted of commercial trade goods transported between the ports-of-call while on route to Cape Town and back to Saint John. This round trip would be her third such commercial transit between Saint John to Cape Town. (The SS Point Pleasant Park was known to merchant seamen as being a happy ship.)  At 1400 with Cape Town being 500 nm to the SE, the ship was hit by a torpedo fired by U-510.  The torpedo struck the stern and blew off the screw, killed nine men and slowly flooded the engine room.  The crew abandoned the ship.  U-510 surfaced and fired bursts from the 37 mm AA gun into the waterline to flood the forward holds and left the area.  Eight days later (2 March) the lifeboat with the Master and 19 crew members made landfall at Mercury Island South West Africa (now Namibia).  Ten days later (4 March) 29 crew members, in a lifeboat, were rescued by HMSAS Africana.

24 February 1944  HMCS Waskesiu commanded by LCdr James P. Fraser, RCNR sank the German submarine U-257 in the North Atlantic.  In concert with Nene, the contact was gained and lost four times.  Ordered to give up the chase, Waskesiu was permitted one more attack, an attack which drove the damaged U-boat to the surface.  Waskesiu opened fire with its main armament, scoring four hits on the submarine’s conning tower. Eventually the sustained gunfire crippled the vessel, and the crew abandoned the sinking submarine.  She was the first RCN frigate to score a U-boat kill.  Supported by Nene, the two ships rescued survivors of U-257.

SIGNIFICANT RCN DATES – If you see any omissions or errors please inform me, and any more modern significant dates are also welcomed.  The list draws primarily from the Directory of History and Heritage’s comprehensive “Significant Dates in Canadian Military History”, the now defunct “Canada Channel”, “Legion Magazine”, The Naval Service of Canada, Its Official History Vol 1-3, NAC member Roger Litwiller’s excellent web site, encyclopedic guidance from NAC member Fraser McKee, the site, and anywhere else I can find credible information.  For the merchant ship history, a special thanks to NAC member Bill Dziadyk for his able assistance and detailed work.  The RCN lost 1,965 men and 24 ships during the War, most of them in the Atlantic.  A comprehensive list of the staggering merchant losses – sunk, damaged, or lost – Canadian Merchant Ship Losses of the Second World War, 1939-1945 by Rob Fisher {Revised June 2001}, and for the loss of individual personnel RCN Ship Histories, Convoy Escort Movements, Casualty Lists 1939-1947)

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